Tuesday, February 18, 2014
This week was so great. The highlight was my exchange with some of the spanish elders in our zone. I went to their area and biked around with them the whole day speaking spanish and eating mexican food. (We biked at least 25 miles so it all evened out ) ;) I now know why I was called english speaking in Oklahoma instead of spanish speaking in South or Central America somewhere. I absolutley love the latin culture...everything about it. I have always had a soft spot for them. They are so humble and friendly and they can COOK!! I have made a promise that I will marry someone someday with latin roots. hahah!! It was so fun to be on the exchange though. I was able to use what little spanish I have picked up on out here about the Gospel and help teach a little bit. Its amazing to see how easy it is to understand people when the Spirit is there, the gift of tongues is real.
We had our Zone Specialized Training last night and we focused on the principle of agency and law. We derived our training from 2 Nephi 2:13. Simply put...it plainly proves the existence of a God without a doubt. Without law, there would be no choice. We could not be obedient, or disobedient, we would just "be". Thus we would "be" acted upon by the random and chaotice forces of the universe and there would be nothing...if we somehow even existed. Because there is choice, and no one can argue that, we know that law is the foundation that has been layed so that there can be a choice. We are either choosing to be obedient or disobedient in our everyday choices, thus the quote "decisions really do determine destiny". Law requires justice otherwise it would no longer be law. How can we have justice without some sort of a judge? When we choose to be obedient to eternal principles and laws that have been given to us by God, we access the grace or power whereby we can ultimately become what we are capable of becoming. We progress and we grow, and as we obediently face opposition in our lives, our ability and capactiy to execute choices with power grows as well. For example, I cannot choose right now to sit down at the piano and play Mozart because my ability limits my freedom to choose to do so. If I were to take the time and effort to be obedient to the laws and theories of piano playing, then my capactiy and ability to play the piano and "be free" to do so increases as well. Without law, we would have no choices, without opposition, we could not choose to progress, even if we desired it. The plan of our Heavenly Father is a beautiful one. It is simple and requires our obedience and faith.
We are meeting with many people who are interested in the Book of Mormon. The more and more I teach it, the more I recognize how beautifully simple it is. As latter day saints, we don't have to justify our posiions on Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Priesthood Authority, the Church itself, polygamy, gays, or anything else people struggle with. It doesn't matter where the Book of Mormon came from. It doesn't matter how it got here. It doesn't matter the history behind the Joseph Smith story and frankly, no one really can "know" because no one who is alive today is an eye witness. What we do have, is a divine record of holy scripture that proves the divinity of the Savior Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon will justify everything for us. Those who truly love their Savior will do anything to experiment upon this word and test to see if the Book of Mormon truly is the word of God. I know it is. I have read it and have applied the principles inside it to action. I have been changed in the process and am a much better person thatn I was 2 years ago. "By their fruits ye shall know them". No who has read the Book of Mormon can logically argue that it is not inspired of God. No one. The simple yet powerful wisdow of an all powerful God once again trumps the weak and frail "wisdom" of the "learned and the wise, that set aside the councils of God".
The weather has been beautiful here and me and elder apedaile are lovin' life. There is nothing better than understanding that we have a purpose here. We aren't just living life to survive. There is a reason, and someday, in the end, all our trials will be well worth it. Keep moving forward and stop looking back. God has given us a wide and broad windshield to look forward so that we can continue driving and progressing, but if we get caught up looking in our rearview mirror at our past all the time, eventually we will crash. Look froward with faith and be happy!! :)
Love you all!!
Elder Dallin Cutler
Monday, February 10, 2014
Night and day difference between Shawnee and Midwest City. Shawnee is so laid back and slow, and Midwest City has a big city feel about it and is so alive. It is right next to a big military base, so basically, its fast paced, young, exciting, and busy. I love it.
The ward here is so great. We sat in ward correlation this past week and everything that was talked about was eventually put into action within the next couple of days. Things just get done quickly in the ward and there is a sense of urgency about the gospel. I am so excited to be here...its very possible that this will be my last area in the mission. Crazy to think about.
Well, I don't have alot of time here in the library so I will keep it pretty short.
We had a great week this week. We have started waking up at 6am every morning and working out at a gym. We then drive back and get to studies and go out the rest of the day.
It has been absolutely freezing in Oklahoma. It's a different kind of cold out here especially with the wind, and humidity. No matter what you wear, the cold just cuts right into you. It makes it hard to smile when your outside because your face is numb. You feeldumb when you try and smile because of the numbness.
We will be going back for another baptism in Shawnee this weekend. A man that elder moore and I were teaching is getting baptized and before I left he asked if I would do it. His name is Terry. That should be exciting and then probably the next couple of weeks, we will have two more in Shawnee for ladies named Mary Ann and Dee that I will go back for. Its always fun to go back into old areas and reunite with the people you grew to love so much.
This week the Lord has been instilling into my mind and heart the importance of being under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Doctrine and Covenants section 45 verses 56 and 57 have been on my mind for a long time. The fundemental warning contained in these verses is that only those who have taken the Holy Spirit as their guide in the last day will abide the prescence of the Lord when He comes again. There is so much deception out there, and so many distractions. It is so, so important to rid our lives of anything that is "ungodly", impure, or that will detract from our capacity to be under the penetrating and vibrating influence of the Spirit of God. Music, movies, pictures, language, thoughts...all these things can be so dangerous. It is not and will never be worth it in the end. We must repent and GO to Christ in every situation that we encounter. Then we will increase in ability to be guided and influenced by the Holy Ghost.
Take care of yourselves and be happy. Compel yourself to do something this week that you would rather not. There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone. Take time to serve someone else out of a pure desire to love. I promise if you will pray, God will give you the opportunity.
Elder Dallin Cutler
The Towers!! Retirement home. We sang Gospel Music every tuesday night with a bunch of "senior citizens"...so fun!!!
Our ward mission leader in shawnee. ballllerrrrrr
Paris is the little girl. Definitely my favorite girl in shawnee hahah so legit
classic cowboys. This is bro ingram from shawnee. He's dope
this is terry. He is getting baptized this saturday.
This guy is a baptist preacher named Joe. I have never had more grief from anyone in my life than this man. I love him to death. He was the first guy I met in shawnee and we said a prayer with him after our little "lesson" (more like a bash) and I said the prayer. He critiqued the HECK out of my prayer afterwards. hahaha he knows his bible, but we will always agree to disagree.
This is Laverne and Brother Loefehollz. We found and were teaching Laverne before I left. She reminded me of Grandma Ross. She is a wonderful lady grandma :)
Paris again. She and her mom and her grandma, were so freakin awesome. I loved their dog….
This is TimMcCrory. He's pretty tall. Really great guy. helped us with appointments alot. His mom is a sweetheart.
some of the other young women
This family is awesome!! The Miner family!!
Monday, February 3, 2014
It is amazing how quickly the Lord can change the direction of your life for the better. The past couple of months have been really difficult and they have definitely taken a toll on me, but I feel I have learned the lessons I needed to learn and I am ready for what's next. I am grateful for how patient and merciful He has been to me.
First news...I am getting transferred out of Shawnee and so is Elder Moore. (because he is going home. 2 years are up.) President has made some BIG changes in the mission and the Shawnee Zone will be closed down because all the districts in it are not aligned with their respective stakes. There will no longer be a Shawnee Zone. I am being transferred to Midwest City, OK where we will open up the brand new zone that is being created this next transfer. My companion will be Elder Apedaile from Morgan, Utah. He has been out a little longer than I am and it shows...he is a baller. GREAT missionary. I am so pumped. He was the district leader in MWC the last couple of transfers so I will be training him as a Zone Leader. We have been serving around each other for our whole mission so it will be a great time. Midwest City is totally different from Shawnee. It is a fast paced city and there are some ghetto areas...its going to be a good time. I am really really excited. Here is my new address...don't be shy now ;) [8601 E. Reno Ave. Apt. #5 Midwest City, OK 73110]
Second news...I committed to play soccer for the University of San Diego in July of 2014. I talked with my mission president last Tuesday and the plans are pretty much set. I am really excited to get back on the 'pitch' ;) but I never thought that any of this would be happening. I definitely did not think I would be coming back to San Diego to live. However, I feel like this is His will for me right now. It was amazing how fast it happened and how directed by Him it was. For now at least, my departure date will be July 22, 2014.
Now that all these decisions are made, I am excited to move forward into the next couple of months and continue the Lords work in this part of His vineyard. I will miss Shawnee so much but I will be back soon because we have 3 or 4 baptisms coming up in February. This ward has been so good to us missionaries. There is so much potential here in Shawnee. Here are some things that I have learned and pondered about during my time here in Shawnee.
1. Faith is not always knowing seeing the results, rather it is working hard because you know it's the right thing to do. Faith is trusting that behind every mortal experience we go through, there is a lesson from God to be learned. Those lessons will shape and prepare us for eternity...if we let them.
2. Life is like a run. There is a finish line or an end goal. The love of running is what keeps us running, but when it gets hard, the vision of the finish line and reward serve as motivations for us to keep running. Many people give up when they are short of breath or tired, but the elite athletes pace their runs and take it one interval or one mile marker at a time. Sometimes in between mile markers it can be hard and monotonous, but in those times the Lord just expects us to keep running, even if you feel like nothing is happening. I felt like this many times. It was difficult to keep running, but how much sweeter was my joy when I saw that next mile marker.
3. Listening is more important than speaking. You cannot love someone if you do not listen to them.
4. As instruments in the Lords hands, we will not always be used for what we think are the most important things in the world. We can however remember and rejoice in the fact that being used in the Lords hands for whatever His purposes may be is always important to Him. However small or menial the task may seem, it will always have eternal implications that we will not always see. This is true humility.
These are some of my thoughts. I hope you all are having a great day and a great week!! The Lord is with us daily. Take time to notice Him. Serve others and you will be happy.
Elder Dallin Cutler
p.s it is still freezing here.
In the snow yesterday. So coooolllld!!
This is Claude. He is a recent convert here in Shawnee. Such a great guy
This family is legit. Gina, Aaron, Forest, A.J and Cody. We found them miraculously by knocking doors. All were members except Forrest. I will miss em.
Last night. The Seahawks won. Elder moore was pumped. we celebrated.
From left to Right: Elder Jenkins, Elder Watkins, Me. They are the other elders in our ward. Gonna miss em.
call in reports this morning.
Calm picture with the elders
Had to upload this though...new planner cover. I thought it was dope. Elder Watkins made it for me.